NEWBERRY — Newberry County Deputy Ted Graham of Prosperity has been chosen to receive the Larry Bragg Deputy of the Year Award for 2013.
The award honors Deputy Lawrence Bragg III, who died in the line of duty in 1989.
To decide who receives the award, Sheriff’s Department employees send nominations to a committee and explain who they believe is the most deserving deputy. From there the committee votes for the deputy they feel is the most deserving.
“When I was told I won the award, I was shocked,” Graham said. “In my whole 10 years here, I did never thought I would get it.”
Graham graduated from Mid-Carolina High School in 1997, after which he went to Midlands Technical College and studied Criminal Justice. After graduating from MTC in 2004, Graham joined the Newberry County Sheriff’s Department.
“When I was in high school, I always rode with deputies at night. This is just something I was around, and what I wanted to do,” said Graham.
He started in the Patrol Division, and after seven years, was transferred in 2012 to the School Resources Division as a School Resource Officer (SRO) for Newberry Middle School. As an SRO, Graham’s major responsibility is to be visible to students.
“I am always in a location where a situation could occur,” he said. “This puts me in the hallways in between classes, in the cafeteria during lunch and at the bus drop off and pick up before and after school.”
Graham does not just monitor students during normal school hours. He also must attend sporting events on Thursday and Friday nights, just in case.
Graham said the most difficult part of his job is not monitoring students during school or at events, but dealing with angry parents.
“Parents are not always happy with the way things are handled, because they do not think that their child could do anything that would get them in trouble with the SRO,” said Graham.
However, Graham said he does not mind because it is all for the safety of Newberry County youths.
“I enjoy being around children. There is a possibility of changing their lives one day,” said Graham. “Working with children helps me disprove the misconception. They have been taught that someone in uniform is a bad guy. While in reality, we are always there to help.”
Graham said another perk of being an SRO is spending more time with his wife, Maddison, and their children, Kimberely, age 9, Kyle, age 7, and Kayleb, age 4.
“My family likes my job as an SRO because when I worked patrol, I worked nights and I missed out on a lot of activities. Now I get to spend more time with them,” said Graham.
One activity Graham enjoys with his family is cooking and eating game he gets from hunting and fishing. Graham said he regularly goes hunting and fishing during the proper season for his two favorite game — deer and shark, both of which his children enjoy eating.
Graham said he enjoys spending time with his family and his job as an SRO because he enjoys being a mentor to children. His plans are to continue working for the Sheriff’s Department, and in 10 years, he hopes to be the supervisor for the School Resource Division or working in investigation.